The Weight of What They Carry

By: Ellen Jane Meegan

They trudged through many battlefields

Eating M&Ms and swallowing fear

Just little boys in big army boots

The things they carried; always near

They reminisced about lost loved ones

Regaling while they threw grenades

They blocked it out the best they could

but the things they carried never faded

They lost fights and some lost their lives

Things hit them hard, they still fired

Smoking and laughing...It was all to hide

the things they carried; now in them wired

They put on brave faces and bullet-proof vests

Patching each other up as wounds bled

but even pure morphine could not numb

the things they carried in their head

Then it was over. They won, they were told

The lucky got home and some even married

but twenty years later, still swallowing fear

Nothing could ease the things they carried.

from The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien